US-based nuclear fuel supplier Uranium Energy Corporation (UEC) has completed the acquisition of a portfolio of exploration projects in Canada from Rio Tinto Exploration Canada.

UEC acquired a 60% stake in the Henday Lake joint venture (JV), a 100% stake in the Milliken project and a 50% stake in the Carswell JV project.

UEC has added 44,444 acres (17,986ha) of prospective land in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada, for C$1.5m ($1.1m), expanding its portfolio to more than one million acres (441,771ha).

The Henday project covers 17,801 acres (7,204ha) and is five kilometres north of the Roughrider project.

UEC has acquired a 60% stake in the project. The remainder is owned by Forum Energy Metals.

UEC will operate the project as the majority shareholder of the JV. Technical evaluation has revealed that the project has 1,750ppm of uranium.

The Carswell project is 1.6km north of the now-mined-out Claude Deposit at Cluff Lake, covering 16,771 acres (6,787ha). It is located within the Carswell Structure, where basement rocks and uranium mineralisation have been brought closer to the surface by a previous meteorite impact.

UEC will operate the project, which it owns jointly with ALX Resources.

Milliken, which is located along the strike of its Wolf Lake trend on the Hidden Bay project, has been acquired from Rio Tinto. UEC owns a 100% stake.

Covering 9,872 acres (3,995ha), the project is at an early stage and has geology similar to that of Collins Bay and the Rabbit Lake Fault system.

UEC president and CEO Amir Adnani stated: “This is our third acquisition in the Athabasca Basin in the last 12 months and builds on the landmark acquisitions of UEX and the Roughrider project.

“This acquisition represents an important component in our strategy to assemble a premier North American uranium portfolio, featuring near-term US production, Canadian development-stage projects, including joint ventures, and a pipeline of exploration projects with excellent growth potential.

“Since the acquisitions of Roughrider and UEX last year, the Canadian team has issued technical reports on the Roughrider, Horseshoe-Raven and Shea Creek deposits. We have also added James Hatley as vice-president of production, Canada, to the team to augment the advancement of our Canadian assets towards production.”

In August 2022, the company acquired UEX, a Canadian uranium and cobalt exploration company. UEX has projects located in the eastern, western and northern regions of the Athabasca Basin.